Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley joined the Bob and Groz show yesterday and if you missed it I thought I'd share a few quotes I found interesting or noteworthy. Bradley didn't go as in depth about the defensive philosophy for the Seahawks going forward as Darrell Bevell did with regards to the offense earlier in the day, but he did talk about the things they're working on right now to improve on their already impressive 2011 campaign.
Bradley - "Our focus, and I know it's a cliche, but we're just talking about getting better. We know some areas that we've got some good talent. We're trying to build on the experience to where we're uncommonly consistent. You know, where we're so consistent, in knowing our duties, and knowing our job responsibilities, that guys get a feel for where everybody else is going to be. I think that once we get to that level, that we should be even better."
This 'uncommon consistency' has been, obviously, pretty tough to achieve the last couple of seasons because of the high turnover rate on the roster, inherited players for the new system, sub-par talent in spots, etc. The Seahawks now have a core group of guys on defense established that can - as he said - get a feel for where everyone else is going to be at all times and become more consistent in being where they need to be. This effect of 'synergy' or whatever you want to call it, is as old as team sports. It's tough to just throw a bunch of talented players that don't have a lot of experience together, on a field and expect them to act as one unit. It's even tougher to throw mediocre players that don't know each other on the field and expect cohesion. Bradley alludes to it, but I feel like the Seahawks are possibly getting to a point where they can start seeing a nice jump in this consistency because of this core group of returning players.
The conversation moved to the subject of limiting the 'sophomore slump' for young players that have had great rookie campaigns - and Richard Sherman is brought up by name. K.J. Wright will be in the same boat.
Bradley replies, noting the sophomore slump isn't as pronounced in the NFL as the rookie year 'wall.' Per Bradley - "I think sometimes you'll see a guy come in, play well for the first five or six games, and then they hit a wall. That's what we try to protect against. Now, with Richard Sherman, that didn't happen to him, and there are some special cases where it doesn't. But generally, in their 2nd year, guys feel a little bit more comfortable with their position, and they're trying to refine their skills even more."
On Seahawk "swagger," again in reference to Richard Sherman.
Bradley - "For corners, I think those guys have to have a different mentality. We play so much press coverage, and they're on an island so many plays - every play, really - I mean they get a little bit of help from our middle third safety, but they've got to have that mentality. By no means is [Richard Sherman] arrogant or cocky, but he is a guy that likes to talk, and keep the team emotional and playing at a high level. He's extremely competitive, and sometimes it comes across as that he likes to talk a lot, but he's just competing."
The conversation also turns to another talented cornerback for the Seahawks, Walter Thurmond. Every report or speculation I've seen lately has Thurmond starting the year on the PUP list, most likely, but Bradley wasn't quite so cynical.
"I can remember two years ago when we played against Arizona - [Thurmond] went up, and he played press corner against Larry Fitzgerald, and really did a nice job against him. And, he knows our nickel spot, so we really are counting on him, and we need him to stay healthy. It's just a couple of unfortunate situations - last year, [on the play he got hurt] he played the ball perfectly, and he just got caught up with his legs and had the injury, and then it didn't heal properly, and he's at where he's at right now. Hopefully by training camp we get him back and he can stay healthy because he's very important and in our plans."
Bradley finished up by talking about how teams will attack Seattle in 2012, addressing first the subject that Groz had been talking a little before - Brandon Browner and his penalties:
"I think, first of all, the penalties, you're absolutely right, I think we gave up forty first downs off of penalties last year, which is pretty high in the league, so I think as a team we really gotta play smarter, and make good decisions. But, it's not going to keep us from what we're doing. We're going to press a lot, so sometimes that will happen, where you get tied up. But, I'm sure they'll do some things to attack those guys, maybe attack to the inside a little bit more, but hopefully we're good in all our zone coverages and our man coverages that - again, you know, I talked about before, being so consistent and understanding where everybody is, that should just make the whole group that much stronger.